I just watched a broadcast of Joy Prouty's keynote address at Click Away. It was called "Dream Big" It was beautiful. I cried. I agreed with 100% of what she said and in the wake of this address I have a lot of soul searching to do.
But as I stand here, stirring pasta, asking God again what in the world am I doing? I reflect on all of this angst I carry, the weight of this unanswered question that sits hanging in the air, in this month upon month-long pregnant pause.
I think about my life right now, my very ordinary cereal and sandwiches life and I think "sometimes maybe I just need to dream small" maybe my five kids in these four walls is enough for me right now. I agree totally and completely that we should live lives of radical risk-taking, but right now, in the waiting, the risk is in being still and small, content, all-in and full of joy in this totally ordinary season of life.
I had this thought the other day how so much of my life is marred by the expectation of productivity and accomplishment. I want a label I can conveniently slap on my life, that sets me apart and proves I have purpose. I realize how much of my angst with the mundane of motherhood is rooted in pride. (Ouch, that is so convicting!) I am capable of so much more than making spaghetti and changing diapers and helping first graders with their spelling and it grates at me something fierce. I can do so much more. Shouldn't I be doing something more?
Maybe yes, maybe no. Maybe I need to dream bigger and take risks and move out of my comfort zone. Maybe though it is in the dinners and the diapers and the minutia and the mundane that my life is being formed - and my children's lives are being molded by how I handle the spilled milk and the burned pasta and the sibling squabbles and the hurt feelings and all of the little things that aren't tasks that can be neatly checked off, but that are so vital in the shaping of a life.
We learn so much in the ordinary task of life, like setting the table and getting dinner on. The gentle voice, the working together. The "I'm sorry" when working together isn't working out so well and the gentle voice turns sharp. My life is formed by all of the moments when I just keep going when I have had enough... hours ago. When I just wanted to sit down and have a meal together but they decide to have a "let's make noises with our mouths that sound like farts" contest. Or whatever that Drives Me Up The Wall tonight. The "pressure cooker" days - they are not fun, or easy, or obviously productive but the do produce character.
The littles come to the table and let me know how much they don't like spaghetti. I say "you get what you get and you don't pitch a fit" (thank you Pinkaliciouss for that nugget of parental wisdom!) and we sit and we eat and I think maybe I just need to get my feet under me I need to have my legs strongly rooted before I can reach my arms out.
This is what it means to me to dream small. To say - this is enough. I want to be faithful with this little.